The first efforts to establish a regional ITS communications network among MAG agencies started in 1998. The links required for effective ITS communications between ten (10) local agencies were identified and temporally funded with federal funds from the AZTech™ Model Deployment Initiative (MDI). All these links were leased telecommunication lines, all of which were allowed to expire and were not renewed by any of the local agencies – primarily due to the high annual cost of the leases.
In 2001, the Maricopa Association of Governments Telecommunications Advisory Group
(MAGTAG) and MAG Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) committees began the Regional Community Network (RCN) study which ultimately identified the Concept of Operations for the RCN that would be used by the various public sector agencies to:
- Increase the bandwidth capacity of public sector telecommunications links;
- Increase the reliability of public sector telecommunications links;
- Increase information sharing capabilities across jurisdictional boundaries; and
- Enhance the level of service that public sector agencies provide to the communities they serve.
In2002, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), and the City of Phoenix (COP) conducted a proof of concept test to demonstrate possibilities of combining various public agencies resources to solve their network capacity and path diversity problems. This Joint User Interoperability Communication Enterprise (JUICE) Proof of Concept test demonstrated that the recommendation in the MAG RCN Study to build a regional network was a viable solution for addressing some of the telecommunication needs of MAG member agencies.
In 2003, Maricopa County developed an AZTech™ Telecommunications Overview report documenting the immediate need for the region to start establishing center-to-center fiber optic communications links between the various traffic operations centers and between public safety agencies to sustain and enhance the region’s ability to mitigate the impacts of traffic congestion and regional emergencies.
In 2004, AZTech™ partners adopted the RCN concept recommended by MAGTAG and MAG ITS committees. The Arizona DOT secured a USDOT grant for improving Public Safety and Transportation Interoperability. A portion of this grant was used by Arizona DOT to develop a Design Concept Report (DCR) for the Phase 1A (an initial deployment phase) of the RCN. However, funds for implementing Phase 1A was not available at this time.
In 2005, on behalf of the AZTech™ partnership, Arizona DOT developed a DCR for Phase II (East Valley RCN Deployment) of the RCN. In the same year, $1.6 million in federal funds previously programmed for a MAG project to implement the original MAG RCN concept was made available for implementation of the RCN to support regional ITS communications. MAG and ADOT have agreed to utilize these funds to implement RCN Phase 1A as a MAG regional ITS project, implemented by ADOT.
Due to the complexity of the RCN project, MAG required a Systems Engineering Analysis to guide the entire RCN development. The RCN Systems Engineering Analysis was funded by ADOT and completed by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. based on the guidelines developed by FHWA and MAG.
RCN Phase 1A Project
The RCN Phase 1A Goals and Objectives:
- Improve traffic control and management
- Improve travel information service
- Improve incident management
- Improve data archived function
- Improve inter-agency data sharing
- Provide Video Conferencing
- Center-to-Center Communications
The RCN Phase 1A involved Centers:
- ADOT TOC
- Chandler TMC
- Gilbert TMC
- Glendale PD
- Glendale TMC
- Peoria TMC
- Phoenix Calvin Goode
- Phoenix TMC
- Mesa TMC
- ADOT Vision Field Office
- Surprise TMC
The RCN Phase 1A is being implemented by ADOT for the MAG region. The project actually involves two separate but related projects. The first project is limited to the development of Plans, Specifications & Estimates and will install a small amount of fiber and all the necessary conduit to complete the physical connection of the RCN network. The project was open to bids by ADOT on July 11, 2008. Paramount Designs, Inc. was awarded the project on August 15, 2008.
The second project involves the installation of active electronics at project sites. ADOT invited four network devices manufacturer to present their solutions to address RCN needs and requirements. The RCN Working Group was formed by the MAGTAG and MAGITS Committee to provide oversight to the RCN development effort. Members of the RCN Working Group represented the MAG region in the vendor selection team that chose the equipment of Foundry Networks to be used in the RCN. Foundry is in the process of finalizing their proposal. Based on the proposal, the scope of work for hiring a turn-key solution provider under the statewide contract will be developed.
The RCN Working Group is developing a document that defines the Roles and Responsibilities related to RCN network management and operations to be adopted by MAG. Another document that defines RCN Governance has also been developed and is expected to be adopted by MAG.
The Phase 1A project is expected to be fully implemented early 2009.
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